Just after Tweedledee breathalysed me within five minutes of arriving home on the island with a visibly “not Jersey” car, I arrived at my Airbnb. I then drove around the block once because even though he tested me in the driveway of where I was heading, he told me “no it’s not here.” When you’re lost ask a copper? Ha. There’ll certainly be no pregnant women weeing in policemen’s hats with my guy. Although, out of context, Tweedledee was actually a very pleasant human. It was just his timing, five minutes after fifteen hours in a horribly rough ferry, and the extremely abrasive customs guy.
But dammit I wanted wine when I got in.
Justyn, who partly runs the place, was walking down the front stairs with a bag of packaging gubbins when I arrived. He had a face mask on, and looked preoccupied. He had dropped a load of polystyrene everywhere in the hallway, taking the opportunity to unpack some new equipment for his hairdressing business in the hallway while making a fish pie. He was apologising all over the place. “I just want wine,” I told him. “Sorry for the state of the floor,” he attempted, surrounded by beautiful clean walls and high ceilings with comfortable shared rooms all around. “You should see my flat.” I finish. “I’ve got a bottle of wine.” “So have I.”.
We sat and had both. We got on very well. Too well. I’ve never landed so well in an Airbnb.
His brother’s in my industry, flying by all accounts. I think he might have directed a Star Wars. Justyn runs his Airbnb out of a typical Jersey stone mansion, right by The Savoy Hotel, great big beautiful well appointed rooms with high ceilings. Light and height, in the centre of town. Considering the lack of space in Jersey, there are lots of houses like this. Either Justyn or his partner has inherited this glorious place and has chosen to share it with people like us. It’ll keep the Aga warm and pay the heating bills, and it means that from time to time someone will come and have a night like we did, for better or for worse. It was a great tonic to my fraught arrival. Although the poor bugger had to cut hair for two clients in the morning, and I had to sort boxes full of rennies. “It’s your fault if I cut somebody’s ear off.” That was his parting shot to me. (He didn’t. He’s a pro.)
If I had my way, and my big property, I’d do something similar. There’s always someone on my sofa in London. If I had spare rooms they’d be full. “Just finding my feet in London.” That sort of thing. Big house, fill it with artists, make things possible for people, put a time limit on it being free to motivate resourcefulness, “leave a picture here”, “put a show on in the living room” “you need how much to make this short film?” Have a lovely life, make stuff with some of the people, cover your costs, die with a smile on your face and lovely things that were made because of and by you, that could last forever or just be written in air. Win. I just need to win the Euromillions or play the British Walter White or something. I’ll get there. 3 years. Bring it.